Want to make a little extra cash?

Facebook’s Marketplace and Garage Sale Groups make this goal very obtainable, assuming you have some treasures you’re willing to part with.

Every single day millions of people sift through piles of products listed on these forums. Granted, most of these products might not be “treasures”, and maybe no one will ever buy that one guy’s half used bag of dog food, but the fact remains that there are many, many listings made every day.

Whether you’re selling items on Facebook as a side business, or just looking to make $5 on that skateboard we both know you’ll never ride again, we’ve put together this list to get your items sold quickly, safely, and for maximum profit.

Take Better Photos

We’ve all seen it. The listing of some poor product on Facebook with hundreds of views and no interactions. What do most of these listings have in common? Terrible photography.

Buyers, in all generations and locations, are visually driven. Humans are also first impression creatures. If the product’s first impression on a shopper is a poorly lit photo with a messy living room, it’s a safe bet they’ll keep swiping.

There is good news, though! Did you know you can take professional level photography in your own home with very little effort and a smartphone? Here’s how: use a light box.

Light Box: A flat box with a side of translucent glass or plastic and containing an electric light, so as to provide an evenly lighted flat surface or even illumination, such as in an art or photography studio.

In short, it’s a box that you put your product in to provide great, even lighting. Apartment Therapy put together a step-by-step guide to make your very own light box at home using poster board and a table. They also have a lot of great ideas for improving your living space.

Check out the quality of this product photo taken with a DIY light box.

light box example

Notice how great the final product looks, and all it took was a bit of time and few bucks at your local hobby store. Compare that with this listing’s photo I found today on Facebook Marketplace. Which would you choose to buy?

scrabble board game

Photography’s importance cannot be overstated for getting your products sold in a timely fashion. Another benefit of this DIY option is that once you’ve taken all the photos you need, you have all the supplies for your next sale.

If you’re not into the DIY scene, you can buy a light box for a pretty reasonable price, some are as low as $10 (though remember that you generally get what you pay for). BoostYourPhotography.com has written some very informative articles on light boxes. In this article on DIY Versus Store Bought Light Boxes they break down the pros and cons of each.

A brief synopsis is that if you are only selling one or two items, or just getting started, the DIY light box option is probably best. If you run an online store or will be selling items often, then it might be worth looking into investing in a store bought light box kit. Katie, the owner of Boost Your Photography, has written multiple articles on product photography and I encourage you to check out her full site here.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind with your photos:

  • Make sure you have great lighting, even when using a light box.
  • Take photos from all angles, sides, and view points. On Facebook Marketplace, you can have up to ten photos per item listing.
  • Include at least one photo with the entire product in view.
  • If you can’t use a light box, clean up and avoid any clutter in the photo.
  • Be honest and don’t hide the flaws. If there are glaring issues, people will see them when they show up anyways.

Pricing: Start High (but not too high)

garage sales pricing

Remember the part about first impressions? Well, pricing is no exception. If your price is ludicrously high, then you may as well not have a listing.

Another part of the buyer’s psychology is the buyer’s ego. Now, this normally means that shoppers will ask the question, “What’s in it for me?”. However, on social media, this ego has other implications. If you’ve ever read the comments on a YouTube video, or just about anything on the internet, you know what I’m talking about.

Quick relevant story. My wife recently posted some shoes for sale on Facebook. Some lady, who was never interested in buying, decided that it was important to let everyone know the price was too high. Immediately, sales interest fell off and the potential buyer was no longer interested unless the item was priced lower.

To recap, a random lady said “the price is too high”, people noticed, sales conversion crumbled.

The lesson? Avoid inviting any kind of negative conversation to your listing by pricing appropriately.

How should you price listings for Facebook?

  • Do research on eBay or Craigslist to find the going rate for your item.
  • Price your item slightly higher than what you find to allow for bargaining room.
  • Try to separate sentimental value from actual value.
  • Have a lot of related items? Try offering a bundle deal to clear it all at once.

Be presentable

People want to feel comfortable in a sales transaction. Above all else, they want to feel safe. Since buyers will most likely visit your profile, you want your page to reflect these ideas.

scary figure

Maybe don’t have this as your profile picture

Go through your public Facebook profile and see if there is anything that might come off as alarming to others. This is a great time to see what privacy settings you have in place as well and make any adjustments you need. It’s recommended to remove anything with offensive content if you’re trying to publicly sell an item.

Something else worth noting is that buyers are wary of profiles that do not have a person in the image. It’s great that you’re a Rockies fan, but people feel more comfortable talking to strangers when they can put a face to it.

If you plan on selling items regularly, consider picking a presentable profile picture of yourself.

Be Safe

While buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace can be very profitable, it is imperative that you keep safety as a top priority. Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to scare you, but rather educate you on potential threats. I’ll break this section down into two parts: online safety and buying/selling safety.

Online Saftey

online security

Small clicks can have big consequences

Scammers are everywhere these days on the internet, and the Facebook Marketplace is no exception. Check out this article, written by David Willis at App.com, about a woman who was targeted by scammers when selling her Apple Macbook Air on Facebook.

(While you’re there, David has written many articles on the current scams occurring in the US. Not a bad topic to brush up on.)

This woman was approached by two different individuals who were both “buying a surprise gift for a relative”. Both individuals actually offered MORE money than the asking price, with the small catch that she send the computer to Nigeria and accept a wire transfer via Western Union.

Luckily, this particular woman recognized the red flags in the conversation and wasn’t fooled. How can you protect yourself from scammers? Try looking for these red flags:

  • Always Be Vigilant – Scammers target the channel with the best chance of success. The Facebook Marketplace is growing, and you should expect the number of scammers on there to grow as well
  • Too Good to Be True – If it looks too good to be true (e.g., a brand new laptop for $50), then it probably is.
  • Don’t Give Out Personal Info – There’s no need to supply your full name or any kind of personal information. Scammers phish for this kind of information by pretending to be someone they’re not.
  • Don’t Click On Links – If someone sends you a direct link, it’s best to not take the chance. Visiting an unknown site can have serious consequences for your computer such as viruses and malware.
  • Check Their User’s Profile – How long have they been on Facebook and where do they live? Is their profile picture a real person, and is that person in other photos on the page?
  • Payment Method – Cash is always king. Checks can bounce and most people don’t have credit card readers laying around. Wire transfers are almost always a red flag for scammers.

Buying and Selling Safety

Security Camera and Lights

Well lit, busy public areas are considered the best place to meet

When buying items from Facebook Marketplace, or a Facebook Garage Sale Group, keep these tips in mind.

  • Never Give Out Personal Information – If you wouldn’t need it from a buyer, then they don’t need it either.
  • If Possible, Never Go Alone – Bring your spouse, friend, or family with you to the meeting location.
  • Meet in a Public Space – Well-lit busy parking lots, a police station, and anywhere with lots of people around are good ideas.
  • Large Objects – Sometimes public spaces are unfortunately not feasible. If you have to meet at the seller’s residence, have them pull the item outside themselves. Again, bring a buddy.
  • Keep Your Phone with You – You can pretend to be on a call and say something along the lines of “Ok great, I just met up with John to buy the lamp at Walmart. See you soon.” If you’re on a real phone call, don’t hang up the phone and keep the phone call running in your pocket or purse.

Conclusion

There are many reasons to use Facebook to buy and sell items. You can browse tons of great garage sale deals without ever having to leave your home, and you can make some extra cash selling items you no longer need.

Just remember to

  • Take Great Photos – Use a light box that you either buy or make yourself. Always have great lighting and include at least one photo with the entire product in the frame.
  • Price Correctly – Do your research on eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist. Start slightly high to allow for bargaining room.
  • Consider Bundle Listings – If you have a lot of similar products, include them all in one listing with a slight discount to get them all moved at once.
  • Be Presentable – Make sure your profile picture is actually a picture of you and that your page is free of any offensive material.
  • Be Mindful of Scammers – If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Trust your instincts.
  • Be Safe – Meet in a public place that’s well-lit, don’t go inside anyone’s home, and bring a buddy whenever possible.
  • Have Fun and Make Some Cash!

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you move your items quickly, safely, and for maximum profit. If you’re starting a business, check out our article on the 7 Things You Must Know to Create a Website. If you need help creating a website, fill out this quick form and we’ll be in touch soon.

Happy Selling!


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